Fasi Zaka (born 9 October 1976) is a television host, satirist, political columnist, radio talk show host, music critic, academic and Rhodes Scholar in Pakistan. He is recognized for a successful presence in print, television and radio, who employs humour from a political and democratic perspective in his media forays. Given his extensive experience, he was declared one of Pakistan's newsmakers of the year in 2006. Zaka occasionally comments on the Pakistani media and politics to National Public Radio (NPR). He is also known for hosting awards ceremonies and speaking engagements. Fasi Zaka has been a declared a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum for 2012.
Born to a Pakhtun family from Charsadda, Zaka received his elementary schooling in Peshawar, where he stayed until he acquired his Bachelor's degree from Edwardes College in Peshawar and master's degree from the University of Peshawar. Zaka is also a University of Oxford postgraduate funded as a Rhodes Scholar in the session 2001–03 from Somerville College where he was elected President of the MCR for Graduates and subsequently elected life member.
On The Fringe
He rose to prominence in 2004 as the host of the off-beat program called On the Fringe which he also scripted for Indus Music and later MTV Pakistan. It was a collaboration with his friend and cousin, Zeeshan Parvez. The show received critical appeal and is the only programme of Indus Music that MTV Pakistan kept in its original format once Indus Music was shelved to become MTV Pakistan.
News, Views and Confused
On 11 April 2007, Zaka started to host and script a political and social satire show on one of Pakistan's leading TV channels, AAJ TV. The show News, Views & Confused was co-hosted by Nadeem F. Paracha and Mohsin Sayeed, with scripting by Zaka. The show received significant international attention through The Washington Post and other publications for its programmes during the second emergency declared during President Musharraf's rule in 2007 amidst a severe clampdown on press freedom. The show ended its run in 2008.
Gateway on PTV World
Zaka currently hosts Gateway on PTV World, an education and careers programme available terrestrially in Pakistan.
Columns in print
Zaka is currently a weekly opinion editorial writer for The Express Tribune, the paper which also brings out the International Herald Tribune in Pakistan. He used to write as a columnist for the leading Pakistani newspaper, The News International, where he wrote the weekly political opinion editorial column, The Pakistan Report Card and the pop culture criticism column titled His Bigness in the Instep segment of the Sunday edition. He wrote a bi-weekly light humour diary column in the weekly magazine The Friday Times under the heading, Man Friday. His columns about branding and branding strategy are also an occasional feature of the advertising magazine Aurora. As a writer some of his prominent themes have included bringing back rationality into civil dialogue, political satire, debunking conspiracy theories that affect the national discourse in Pakistan.
Zaka headlines one of Pakistan's most listened to radio shows, The Fasi Zaka and Friends Show, on Pakistan's FM radio station Radio One FM 91, which is aired nationally. The show is aired three times a week, and is known for its absurdist humour and liberal politics embedded in the jokes. It was because of the show and its appeal that the British Council Pakistan linked up with Fasi Zaka to create Ace Encounter, an edutainment programme that used his appeal with the youth to send out educational advice.
- Sebastian Abbot (5 January 2011). "Cheers and tears in Pakistan after assassination". The Boston Globe. Associated Press. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- Declan Walsh (28 February 2011). "War games: conflict becomes child's play for young Pashtuns". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- Anita Joshua (9 February 2011). "Pakistan: walking a tightrope". The Hindu. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- Jenna Fisher (6 January 2011). "How Pakistan views the assassination of Salman Taseer". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- "Reaction to Benazir Bhutto's assassination". Minnesota Public Radio. 27 December 2007. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- FM Listening | Network shows on FM!: Sehrish Wasif. Internews.org.pk (12 May 2007). Retrieved 18 October 2011.[dead link]
- Fasi Zaka (11 January 2008). "My Teen Years". The News Daily Jang. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- Issam Ahmed (28 January 2011). "Could there be a liberal resurgence in Pakistan? Lawmaker Sherry Rehman says she's working on it". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- Mark Magnier (28 April 2009). "Pakistanis worry about their international image". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- Paul Richter; Mubashir Zaidi (27 April 2009). "Hillary Clinton warns of 'existential threat' in Pakistan". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- Madeeha Syed (29 July 2007). "Who to look up to?". Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- Shahan Mufti (7 December 2007). "Pakistani protesters eager for Bhutto-Sharif deal". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- "Pakistan's Media Raises Its Voice". Morning Edition (NPR). 16 August 2007. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- "Amid laughter and thunderstorm, a memorable graduation". The Express Tribune. 25 April 2012. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- Kazim Alam (19 May 2012). "Advertising awards: Jingles and campaigns jostle for the gold". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- Maxwell Hall (6 March 2012). "World Economic Forum Announces Young Global Leaders for 2012". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- Pakistan « Rebecca Conway. Rebeccaconway.wordpress.com. Retrieved 18 October 2011.[dead link]
- hakim (12 January 2007). "Classics: Ali Azmat – IM on the Fringe". MicroPakistan. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- Huma Imtiaz (13 October 2009). "Funny People". Newsline. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- Aaj TV Online – Pakistan Ki Awaz. Aaj.tv (3 October 2011). Retrieved 18 October 2011.[dead link]
- Leonard Freedman (2008). The Offensive Art: Political Satire and Its Censorship around the World from Beerbohm to Borat. ABC-CLIO. p. 138. ISBN 9780313356018. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- Emily Wax (28 November 2007). "How Pakistan's Satirists Poke Fun, Politically". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- Nirupama Subramanian (23 November 2007). "Fighting back with comedy and satire". The Hindu. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- "Gateway with Fasi Zaka". PTV World. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- Shiraz Maher (6 March 2013). "The importance of Pakistan's literary festivals". The Spectator. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- The Express Tribune; retrieved 18 October 2011.
- Zara Farooqui (5 November 2010). "Extinguishing Extremism". Newsline. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- Hasan Zaidi (29 November 2007). "The challengers". India Today. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- Laura King (15 August 2008). "Musharraf may resign in days to avoid trial". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- Tuning Out the Taliban. Video.nytimes.com. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- Arif, Fatima. (2009-06-18) A Thinking Mind: Fasi Zaka. Fatimaarif.blogspot.com; retrieved 18 October 2011.
- A for [pine]Apple (7 August 2008). "No problems, no conflict, only glory". Islamabad Metblogs. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- Jonathan Crowe (26 December 2008). "The Map Room: Redrawn Middle East Map Generates Controversy in Pakistan". The Map Room. Retrieved 12 May 2014.
- Kristin Solberg (12 October 2011). "Gjør narr av bakstreverske pakistanere" [Make fun of reactionary Pakistanis]. Aftenposten (in Norwegian). Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- Mark Magnier (5 May 2009). "What the Pakistani people would tell Obama". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 12, 2014.
- Declan Walsh (20 November 2009). "Report warns of Pakistan's younger generation losing faith in democracy". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 October 2011.